To say Summer Twilight is my baby is to put it lightly. This is a book I've poured my heart and soul into over the past few years - I've spent countless hours working at my computer to bring Alex and Caidy's story to life, and their future is always on my mind. If you know me, that's probably not surprising to you: you've probably had me ask you to look at chapters, or listened to me talk about the world.
This pre-sale campaign has been more successful than my wildest dreams. It's completely blowing my mind that I've experienced such an outpouring of support from so many people in my life. I'm closer than I ever imagined to achieving my LAST and BIGGEST stretch goal: recording an audiobook version of Summer Twilight. With $1,482 left to raise and 14 days to do it, I'm feeling incredibly energized and excited about moving forward.
As a thank you to everyone who has supported me, I'm incredibly excited to announce that if we hit our goal of $8,000, I'm going to be donating 20 signed copies of my book to the school I taught at for two years: Duff-Allen Central Elementary (DACE), in Floyd County, Kentucky.
My amazing, incredible, talented, and often-frustrating students, singing along to Frozen after exams the day before vacation
Any teacher will tell you that their kids mean everything to them, and I'm no exception. I loved my kids so much it literally hurt sometimes. And, like any parent or teacher will tell you, my kids also spent a lot of their time driving me up a wall and making me want to tear my hair out. I spent pretty much all my time trying to make their lives better, and every time I got a hug or witnessed a moment like the short video above, it was worth all the heartache and frustration.
DACE is a K-8 school in Floyd County, Kentucky, which is smack in between Charleston, WV and Lexington, KY - and about 2 hours from either one. For two years I taught 6th grade social studies, which meant I spent all my time hanging out with 12 year olds (and learning a LOT about Fortnite). It's a small community with incredible strength and perseverance: the entire county has about 38,000 people, and I taught between 100 and 120 students a year. It's a community that faces poverty and has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic decimating so many areas of the United States, where people have struggled to find jobs as coal mines have closed and industry has left the area.
But it is also a place of incredible hope. The kindest people I have ever met in my life live in Floyd County, from my principal who bought me groceries before I'd gotten my first paycheck to the guidance counselor who let me cry in her office after rough days. It's a community that comes together when people face loss and health challenges, where people offer prayers and love for one another freely. It's also a place where people are united in their desire to help and support their children, a school where teachers bring meals to students during holidays, and parents believe that if anyone can change the world, it's their children.
And after two years teaching, I know they're right. Every single student I taught has the capacity to change the world, and I cannot wait to see how they do so.
When I was hired, my principal told me he hired me to show students what they could achieve. I've had a lot of incredible experiences in my life - during college, I worked several jobs at cool places, both in the government and outside of it. I helped start companies, and I met a ton of amazing people. When I told those stories in my interview, my principal told me that he wanted me to show my students that they could achieve the same things I had.
I hope I lived up to that charge.
In my classroom we toured the world, visiting five continents (with units on North America, Latin America, Europe, Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, and Africa), and exploring using Google Earth. We talked about current events, from the Parkland shootings to the Mueller Report, from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria to the Las Vegas attack.
I told my kids over and over that, at the end of the day, I didn't care if they remembered that the United Kingdom was a parliamentary democracy - I cared if they understood how to look at a new place, person, or idea, and form an opinion about it. We debated if a Border Wall was a good idea, and made posters protesting violence at schools. I learned way more from them than they did from me, and I still admire their resilience in the face of adversity, and joy at exploring a new place.
I'm donating Summer Twilight because I want to continue giving back, and to continue to show students that they can achieve anything they put their mind to. When I hear from former students, or see what they're up to on Facebook, it makes my heart so happy. I am so blessed to be able to give back in this way, and I'm so excited for your help to get there.
Bridget is the author of Summer Twilight, available for purchase now!